Tips to Boost Strategic Thinking


As a financial or accounting executive, you probably spend much of your day in meetings and putting out fires. Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave much time to work on strategic-thinking strategies.  Strategic thinking doesn’t always come naturally to everyone, and managers may need help to go beyond just “getting the job done.”   When you are focused mainly on putting out fires you may be neglecting the big picture.  If this is you, it’s time to take off the “fire” blinders. Accounting and finance executives need to have a strategic plan to keep their business growing. For this reason, employers want accountants who possess strategic-thinking skills.  But where are the insights to guide the nuances of financial strategic thinking?   After all, it’s a complexity of carefully honed skills that boost the ability to identify patterns, pathways, and end points.

Below are three ways for you to improve your strategic thinking skills:

Use Your Whole Brain

Most of us use one side of our brain more than the other. Artists and creators from culinary corners to landscape architects rely on their right hemisphere for innovative insight. People who primarily use the logical, mathematical left brain are amazed when they have a creative flash. Interestingly, one thinks most strategically when there is a healthy interplay of both brain hemispheres. This valuable ability happens when you:

  • Write or draw with your non-dominant hand—you’re pushed to use the other side of your brain.
  • Sing a favorite song, using the verbal left-brain skills blended with the right’s melodic creativity.
  • Paint or color numbers, appealing to your financial side while playfully awakening creativity.

Master These Strategic Thinking Skills

There are a number of strategic skills you use regularly in your financial role. You can further master them through regular, disciplined use, as you remind yourself this is strategic thinking in action.

  • You develop short and long-term goals and tasks related to financial management. These steps and thought processes apply to the visionary aspects of strategizing.
  • Talk about visioning! This skill is nurtured by balancing interaction with relaxation. Make time for yourself, encouraging your team to do likewise. Then gather together to plan and envision your group’s expanding potential.
  • Consider the steps you take with clients. These include setting realistic goals with timeframes for achieving each work objective. You exchange perspectives, resulting in innovative planning, a primary outcome of strategic thinking.

Act Strategically on These Each Week

  • Keep learning.
  • Ask for advice.
  • Sharpen your awareness and listening skills.
  • Be flexible with plans.
  • Maintain a perspective of realistic optimism.
  • Instill the passion for strategic thinking throughout your organization.

For more strategic thinking advice, check out Stimulating Innovative Finance Thinking